Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Communication and Information

Major Professor

Ronald E. Taylor

Committee Members

Jinx Watson, Courtney Carpenter Childers


Scholars involved in gender research generally advocate the idea that gender subjectivities are based on active social construction and interaction and as such are amenable to change. Notions and values of masculinity therefore are cultural constructs that are reflected and articulated through symbolic systems such as spoken and written language. Fiction narratives in teens’ magazines are one form of textual media content in which these values can be expressed. The purpose of this study was to explore the textual representations of American values of masculinity in 56 contemporary fiction stories of Boys’ Life magazine by conducting a qualitative content analysis. The study used the values of the Scout Law as one definition of masculinity formulated by the Boy Scouts of America, one of the nation’s leading youth organizations and publisher of Boys’ Life magazine. Through close reading and thematic coding, this study revealed, on the one hand, that the values, with two exceptions, are well-reflected in different meanings and contexts and constructed through the use of different literary devices in the narratives. The study also indicated, on the other hand, that the portrayal of these values may lead to a rather narrow definition of a boy’s life and contribute to the limited construction of traditional masculinity. Further, it appeared that social recognition is represented as an important aspect in terms of performing in accordance with the values of the Scout Law. The study discusses implications of these and other findings as well as suggestions for further research.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."